Apropos Austrian Aphorisms

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Economics in a job interview

My month-plus-long search for job stability turned onto the final 100m today. For over the past month I have been seeking a full-time position. Finding nothing, I turned to temporary work at a local staffing agency and easily found temp. work. The work wasn't hard and I made enough to pay for the necessary bills. I learned just how capable the market is in employing people and putting food on peoples' tables—so long as they are willing to "swallow their pride" and do work that isn't ideal. Humorously enough, I've been part of the poorest demographic, students, and accumulated thousands of dollars of debt chasing after that noble ideal of higher education, yet I never considered myself poor until I graduated and had to "manage by." As a result, and at the same time I read a financially awakening book by Dave Ramsey called "The Total Money Makeover," I learned the value of a budget and not spending beyond my means. It is just like if you want to get fit: You don't eat more calories (spend more money) than you expend (make).

But as I said, I'm running down the final 100m now after interviewing with Almon, Inc., the technical documentation contractor of John Deere, and receiving a full-time job offer. My interview today was the most interesting and pleasing interviews I've ever had. The reason was due to simply talking with the people I'd be working under and with and listening to their job anecdotes and how they showed economic truths. 

Anecdote 1: John Deere is having to shut down an operation in Canada and relocate to Mexico. The reason? The oft-maligned "cheaper wages." But the full story I was told, that Canadian labor laws forced Deere to pay its employees the same as the automotive industry, upheld the basic fact that labor unions exclude possible employment, raise wages, and that minimum wage laws, in general, increase unemployment. Deere would've like to have kept its plant and employed many Canadians, and many Canadians would've surely enjoyed employment at Deere. However, because Deere could not afford to pay its employees such a high price at that location they had to relocate, increasing the number of unemployed Canadians who must now begin the arduous task of job searching again as I did.

Anecdote 2: Almon, Inc. has not grown considerably in size over the past decade but is achieving much higher productivity than simply 10 years ago. This story illustrates the true economic path to progress: capital reinvestment. Almon, Inc. did not become more productive because it highered more people and raised wages. It did so by reinvesting its capital, which later allowed the company to higher more people and raise wages because it could afford to do so. This is an economic point few understand, especially those who would say that companies becoming so rich should first raise wages, higher more people, or be taxed more. This is fundamentally unsound. A business cannot redirect its capital investment to wage raises or increased employment without first reinvesting capital to cover its costs. The same goes for taxes: the more a business is taxed, the less it has to reinvest for capital, which means, in turn, it'll have even less for raising wages and hiring new employees.

After reading authors of the "Austrian" school of economics such as Henry Hazlitt and Ludwig von Mises, it has been refreshing to see their economic theories proven by real-life examples. It was refreshing to know, no, the government doesn't need to "create jobs" for people to be employed, nor does the government need minimum wage laws to provide people with a "just wage," nor does it need to tax and implore businesses to "share the wealth."

So I know, even more, that I cannot believe a word Barack Obama or John McCain say about leading the American economy back on course because they both believe in job creation, which only removes more business from the private sector and increases taxes (because more people on the government payroll means more people will have to pay their wages). They both believe in minimum wage laws and labor unions. And they both believe in taxes, for sure, but also taxing businesses and the rich. These men, and their parties, are not different.

The real world demonstrates that the three aforementioned areas do not need government intervention. The real world demonstrates the two aforementioned presidential candidates are not needed.


# re: Economics in a job interview@ Saturday, September 13, 2008 2:37 PM

nice reading

# re: Economics in a job interview@ Monday, October 20, 2008 2:53 AM

Excellent! It's all about personal mobility, flexibility and humbleness. Unfortunately, the spoiled humans of today have none of that, and then ask for government handouts.

by paleohawk